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  #21  
Old 12-30-2007, 03:23 PM
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Default Ethanol blender pumps at every gas station

The previous posting about ethanol blender pumps in some states cemented what I had known as well - blender pumps have been in use for years, as there are only 2 "standard" types of fuel out there. High test for finicky motors and regular unleaded for the rest =- anything else is a mix of those 2.

And while it would be difficult to get new equipment installed at gas stations across the nation, can you imagine how much harder it would be to roll out another fuel source (e.g. Hydrogen - anyone ever see the Hindenburg footage? someone please stop these fools - or fuel cells HAHAHAHAHA, scientists are so happy at getting grant money - NEXT.)

I, for one, would be more than happy to give up the unleaded premium at the local pumps for an Ethanol mix (of suitable quality - such as 30% or better). This would be very easy to accomplish, as long as supply can meet demand.

The only vehicles that currently require super unleaded are supercharged, turbo-charged, or high compression (higher than say 11:1) equipped. I am almost positive that these vehicles could be run on the higher octane, but lower btu ethanol enhanced fuel. In my past experiences, most of these configurations should not be required to run high octane fuel - the manufacturer places this demand on the fuel quality in a preference to the highest performance. With some simple reprogramming, I would think even the earliest models of these cars could be adapted to run an ethanol mix.

Case in point, some fuel stations out here have 4 levels of unleaded fuel. You can stand there for 5 minutes deciding between 87, 89, 91, or 93 octane. The truth of the matter is this - if the vehicle states super or premium only, then it requires 91 - otherwise just throw some 87 octane in the tank and get on with life's real decisions (for instance, is it time to buy something that gets decent gas mileage yet? LOL). I have NO IDEA whose braincramp it was to offer 4 choices of fuel. As if Joe Q. Public has a clue as to what will run the vehicle - or what octane ratings are - for that matter. Nothing but snake oil salesmanship in my opinion.

Short and sweet - this E30, etc. conversion would likely take an afternoon at most fuel stations, and would make the greatest difference (for the time being, and based on what we know) to our air and our foreign relations.

I am all for it myself because I know it would actually make a difference to our air and our planet - and I don't really care what the stuff costs. Unlike special vehicles and replacing everything we have that rolls, ethanol enhanced fuels would apply to a hybrid, a moped, or the latest SUV Tank minus a turret.

Incidentally, has anyone out there run across testing or the possible effects of an ethanol mix for premium fuel replacement? This would be the only thing standing in the way of a wide rollout of ethanol blends for your local fuel station (other than supply/ demand issues of course). Not to mention the benefits (and potential savings) of simplifying the refinement of oil-based fuels into one quality level.
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  #22  
Old 12-30-2007, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: How to Blend Your Own Fuel, and Why You Should

What am I missing here?

I thought rust, rubber and plastic deterioration in the fuel linings and systems were significant enough issues with ethanol that many manufacturers PROHIBIT using more than a 10-15% ethanol mix. And they will VOID coverage on warranty issues if excessive ethanol-use was considered the cause.
SOME newer cars (flex-fuel and others) allow any % of ethanol. But many new cars (and almost all older cars) still specifically mention avoiding a high percentage of ethanol.
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  #23  
Old 12-31-2007, 02:00 AM
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Default Re: How to Blend Your Own Fuel, and Why You Should

I know that is a common belief. I'm not sure why.

I've never seen ( or heard ) of a vehicle's warranty being voided from ethanol. I talked to Ford higher-ups more than a year ago about putting all the way up to E85 into a FEH. Above about 50% ethanol it will trip fault codes, as the data from the O2 sensors may go out of range. Also, above about 50% the fuel injectors may reach maximum duty cycles, and trip fault codes, give check engine lights, and may, ask you to "stop safely now" on the message center. In the rarest of cases, it ( the software ) may shut the car down.

Ford will not pay for re-setting the fault codes, and/or draining the E85 out of your tank if you accidently put it in. So you may have to foot the bills for the cost to "reset" your car back to normal. No warranty was voided in any of the ( two ) cases I heard of when E85 was put into a Ford Escape Hybrid.

The claims about rust & corroision are unwarranted.
A small amount of corrosion inhibitor is added to the ethanol when it is still 100% or 200 proof. The allowable combined acid content is limited to 0.007% and that is for all acids combined, mostly acetic acid, which is the same as vinegar, and comes from trivial amounts of bacteria that live in the corn before the alcohol is distilled. Trace amounts of sulfuric acid may be present, but in parts per million. The pH of ethanol is very close to 7.0. The governmental mandate is ethanol can never contain more than 1.2% water at the pump in the U.S. I think the limit is less in Canada, 0.8%, but I'm not positive, other than Canada accepts less. Ethanol distilleries always keep the water to below 0.75% so there's a little room to pick up water along the distribution process. Ask any good mechanic what 1% water will do to your car. He'll probably say "nothing" or point out there's probably more than that in your gas tank now. Ethanol has been used for over 100 years to remove water from gas tanks, without the need to drain them. Ethanol dissolves the water, and passes it harmlessly through your engine and out the tailpipe.

Very high concentrations of ethanol ( like E85 ) may dry out rubber and some plastics. Gasoline is a thin oil, and a lubricant, where ethanol is not.
But having a 50/50 mix or less keeps the "oily" properties, and will not readily dry out rubber and plastics. The rubber and plastics that are not compatible with high amounts of ethanol were phased out in the early 80's, and some states have been using ethanol at the pump for more than 25 years already. How many engine complaints from ethanol have you heard about over the past 25 years?

Ethanol will lower MPG, but not so dramatically as once thought.
I have measured no loss in horsepower, or performance, or response from the engine with 30% ethanol in my FEH. MPG is lower, but about the same as 10% ethanol.

I bought E30 for $2.54 last week, and lost about 12-15% MPG tops.

-John
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  #24  
Old 12-31-2007, 02:36 AM
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Default Re: How to Blend Your Own Fuel, and Why You Should

Taken from "Over the River and Through the Woods" thread in FEH section:
Quote:
Originally Posted by kristian View Post

It liked "real" gas better than ethanol blend in terms of MPG (BTW, anyone know the blend ratio in Iowa?), but from a miles per $ standpoint, ethanol came out slightly ahead when purchased in Iowa. This is a little hard to quantify though since none of the gas/ethanol was purchased at the same station or in the same town so the price difference varied.
On blends with ethanol, it should be 10% in Iowa unless marked otherwise.
Gasoline in Colorado also has 10% ethanol, incidently. Since 10% has become the "norm" in more than half of the U.S., it no longer is marked at all in many locations. This makes things difficult for those of us in forums like this to keep good records on how our car's MPG is really doing.
EPA is just now allowing blends of 20% and 30% but those are only at a very few locations ( fewer than a dozen nation-wide ) and must be clearly marked. -John
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  #25  
Old 01-01-2008, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: Ethanol blender pumps at every gas station

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckaaron1 View Post
The only vehicles that currently require super unleaded are supercharged, turbo-charged, or high compression (higher than say 11:1) equipped. I am almost positive that these vehicles could be run on the higher octane, but lower btu ethanol enhanced fuel. In my past experiences, most of these configurations should not be required to run high octane fuel - the manufacturer places this demand on the fuel quality in a preference to the highest performance. With some simple reprogramming, I would think even the earliest models of these cars could be adapted to run an ethanol mix.
That "only" part includes a whole range of cars. Civic Si, Other sports compacts, luxury cars, etc...

When performance is part of the selling point I think quite a few owners and enthusiasts would be offended by the suggestion their fuel is to be phased into a less capable and greener mix. People who buy V8 powered Corvettes are not normally thinking about greener driving habits.
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  #26  
Old 01-01-2008, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: How to Blend Your Own Fuel, and Why You Should

gpsman1,

I well know about E10 being available in many states (and for years now). Ethanol issues should be very minimal over the past 20+ years, now that some of the plastics and rubber have been upgraded to withstand E10. That's not the issue here, for me. The issue is in recommending greater than E10. This is not even close to widely available at the pump (unless you use E85 - not a good idea). So asking about "how many engine complaints from ethanol" is talking apples and oranges, as you're not talking about the widely available E10.

And while all that you say may be true, it does not matter to me until manufacturers (& dealers too) agree with you, and stop putting this verbiage in the owner's manual:

"Some gasoline today is blended with oxygenates such as ethanol or MTBE. Your vehicle is designed to operate on oxygenated gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol by volume and up to 15% MTBE by volume. Do not use gasoline containing methanol."
(quoted from p.150 of my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid owner's manual)

The 10% ethanol message is likely due to the use of a 10% ethanol mix, especially in the winter months. It does NOT indicate to me, that the engine, valves, fuel pumps, fuel injectors, O2 (and other) sensors, CATs, exhausts, fuel linings, rubber and plastic parts have all been significantly upgraded to handle ANY amount of ethanol (or even 50%). If they have been, it's a small step to make the vehicles truly "Flex-Fuel".

I, for one, will take heed this cautionary message in my HCH2.
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  #27  
Old 01-01-2008, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: Ethanol blender pumps at every gas station

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sungod18 View Post
People who buy V8 powered Corvettes are not normally thinking about greener driving habits.
Shame on them.
They cannot use the full power potential legally on city streets anyhow.
Only on a closed circuit, race track, maybe.
Ethanol use will be transparent for almost all owners in the performance category. The only visible manifistation is lower MPG. A good trade off for better air if you ask me.
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  #28  
Old 01-01-2008, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: How to Blend Your Own Fuel, and Why You Should

My comments in RED.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gumby View Post
gpsman1,
The issue is in recommending greater than E10. This is not even close to widely available at the pump.

True. But if you live a few states either side of the Mississippi river, it's coming to a station near you soon. In months, not years.

And while all that you say may be true, it does not matter to me until manufacturers (& dealers too) agree with you, and stop putting this verbiage in the owner's manual:

"Your vehicle is designed to operate on oxygenated gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol by volume and up to 15% MTBE by volume."

Most of what I read on these boards is about how un-educated and incompetent dealers are. Some are still telling hybrid shoppers they can drive all day on electricty as long as they stay at city speeds. Many say even 10% ethanol is bad for your car. Which tells me to steer clear of dealers unless I have no other choice. Their main goal is to sell cars after all. Not be expert mechanics. And while some mechanics are O.K. at dealers, most GREAT mechanics work for private shops, or open their own. My observations only, yours may vary.

The use of a 10% ethanol mix, does NOT indicate to me, that the engine, valves, fuel pumps, fuel injectors, O2 (and other) sensors, CATs, exhausts, fuel linings, rubber and plastic parts have all been significantly upgraded. If they have been, it's a small step to make the vehicles truly "Flex-Fuel".

It is not a matter of needing a plastic and rubber upgrade. That occurred years ago, and is in all new cars these days. The rubber parts were discontined for other reasons.

It really is a small step to make existing vehicles FFV. ( ~$100. )
I think I have already outlined where the real poblem lies.
More cars are ethanol capable than most people imagine.
All Chevy Trucks less than 1 ton are Flex Fuel as standard equipment, in addition are Tahoe, Avalanche, Suburban, and also the Impala Sedan, and available as "options" on other Chevy cars.
On models where FFV is an option, it is a $0 option, and you only need to specify you want this. The engines, the tanks, 99.9% of the car is identical. On the FFV, it may have slightly different O2 sensors and software. Thats all Folks.

I, for one, will take heed this cautionary message in my HCH2.

If you want cheaper fuel costs, maybe you should buy American cars? Sounds like Japan is behind the times when it comes to Flex Fuel. But in fairness, ahead in the Hybrid dept.
Cheers,
-John
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  #29  
Old 01-01-2008, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: How to Blend Your Own Fuel, and Why You Should

The previous posters' message about V8 powered Corvette owners not caring about the air we all breathe, etc is highly accurate in what I have seen myself. But then I've always felt that many consumers in this category are lacking a little more than just horsepower.... if some might get my meaning....

The dealers have always (and I mean always) been a poor source of information on absolutely anything regarding their vehicles - other than what they can "put you in today". I've dropped some notes about this in past postings, as their best sales tactics are usually the main concern and focus of any brand dealer.

The message regarding the statements located in an operators manual are interesting to me, as if I followed every indication in an operators manual - I would have run into much trouble in a variety of vehicles that I've owned. I read these as "suggestions" and take them with a grain of salt, as these are written by the folks that would love you to purchase a new car from them as often as possible until the end of time.

Examples:

The service reminders in a brand new 99 Buick Regal GS supercharged (29mpg hwy loaded to capacity and 240HP) recommended a 5,000 mile interval for every oil change (normal non-synthetic oil) and was further programmed into the "adaptive" service minder function of the dash display. Yet on a road trip across the US, I checked the oil at 3,900 miles while filling the tank and noticed I was 2 quarts below full on flat ground and the oil was dark. The dash told me I had 2,200 miles to go to the next adjusted oil change.
I promptly drove it to the nearest Buick dealership, had the oil changed and had the engine checked for signs of leakage - there were none. In the words of the service manager, it was "perfectly normal" for an engine to consume oil without leaking it (Hack!). Incidentally this car never made it to the second oil change with us - I traded it in on an import after we returned home. Waiting until 5,000 miles would most likely have caused the new engine to seize or damage itself, and there was no indicator light that told it was low on oil either (3 of the 5 US quarts left). Imagine if I waited until the fancy pants dash display indicated I should change it @ 6,100 miles as Buick recommended.

A further example would be trying to find the service interval for flushing power steering and brake fluids on almost any vehicle (other than high-end imports). This interval is absent from almost every operators manual (and repair manual) ever written, and yet is highly important to the safe operation of these systems. Change these fluids every 3 years/ 30,000 miles and you will most likely never have serious problems related to brake leaks, pump and rack failures, etc unless they were faulty or cheaply equipped. I offer up my 1995 Dodge Neon Highline I recently sold to a friend with 110,000 miles and the original power steering, ABS master cylinder, calipers, lines, etc. Water intrusion in these systems is normal, and not mentioned or discussed by the manufacturer until they can sell you something.

And lastly, please do not listen to the manufacturers regarding tire pressures - this is optimized to a nice soft, comfy ride out of the compromise (cheap as possible) tires and components they equipped your car with. My 2005 Scion would like me to run my 205/45R17 stock tires at 29psi as specified on the doorframe sticker. When was the last time anyone got optimum mpg or performance at 29psi - it can't happen. I have them at 32 psi for traction in the winter, and will increase that to about 34-36 psi once summer hits again.

Thanks again for everyone's input - and please remember not to believe everything you read in the manual. This is like asking a bartender how many drinks you should have
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  #30  
Old 01-02-2008, 06:32 AM
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Default Re: How to Blend Your Own Fuel, and Why You Should

There is a popular myth that higher octane in fuel gives you additional power - it does not. Premium gasoline has the exact same energy content as regular (about 111,400 BTU's per gallon).

The ONLY thing the higher octane is needed for is engine knock. High-performance engines are more sensitive to the octane level because they have higher compression ratios, so they tend to knock on lower octanes.

Plus, the computers in today's engines also detect knocking and will adjust the spark timing and other settings to control it.

There is also a claim by some people that they put premium in once in a while to "clean out the system". Most of the time, the detergents suppliers put into their fuels are the same in all grades.

So in reality, most cars on the road today need nothing more than the regular old 87 octane fuel.
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